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The Travelin' McCourys Acquire Guitarist Cody Kilby

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Cody KilbyAcclaimed band, The Travelin’ McCourys have started a new chapter in their book with the announcement that their guitar chair will be permanently filled by long-time friend and fan favorite, Cody Kilby. It’s a fitting call, given that Kilby — a veteran of the national bluegrass scene since appearing on the IBMA Awards Show in 1993 as a member of the Bluegrass Youth All-Stars with fellow teenagers like Chris Thile — was the guitarist on the Travelin’ McCourys debut appearance at the Wintergrass festival. Since then, a distinguished and varied group of guests have toured with the McCourys— the list ranges from bluegrass stalwarts like Jeff White and Ronnie Bowman to edgier pals like Keller Williams, The Infamous Stringdusters' Andy Falco, and String Cheese Incident’s Billy Nershi — with Kilby enjoying the role of most frequent. Prior to today’s announcement, Kilby spent 14 years as a member of Ricky Skaggs’ award-winning Kentucky Thunder and as a sought-after studio player, most recently on Beck’s Grammy winner, Morning Phase.

With the addition of Kilby, the Travelin’ McCourys — bluegrass Hall of Famer Del McCoury’s sons Ron (mandolin) and Rob (banjo), along with Del McCoury Band colleagues Jason Carter (fiddle) and Alan Bartram (bass) — serve notice that they are ready for the next steps down the musical road they’ve been paving alongside the Del McCoury Band in recent years. “I guess we had our ‘a-ha’ moment at DelFest this year,” says Ron McCoury. “We were on stage Saturday night and it was like a light bulb went on — with Cody, we really have the perfect combination. Don't get me wrong, we enjoy featuring guests and still plan to collaborate at times, but from now on, Cody will be involved in all of those shows. He is a great player, and fits perfectly with what we do - straddling the fence between traditional and progressive. No matter what we throw at him, he can handle it."

Many Roads TraveledGrowing up in Cowan, Tennessee, Cody Kilby picked up his dad's banjo at age 8 and had a Gibson Banjo endorsement by the time he was 11. He started playing his mom's guitar at 10, and by 17, he was the National Flatpicking Champion. He added mandolin and dobro at around age 13, and at 16, recorded Just Me, showing his mastery of each instrument on the recording. While touring with Sally Jones and the Sidewinders, he caught the ear of Ricky Skaggs, joining Kentucky Thunder in 2001. Cody's lightning-fast picking can be heard on a number of projects, including Disney album, O Mickey, Where Art Thou?. He's also released a solo project, Many Roads Traveled, on which he shares his own original compositions. In rare spare moments, Cody can be found producing and engineering projects for other artists in his home studio.

Cody has been recognized that the Walnut Valley Festival National Championships many times beginning in 1995 when he first appeared. He won second place in the National Flatpick Guitar and the National Bluegrass Banjo contests that year. He continued to place in various musical instrument categories over the years.

The Travelin’ McCourys do not stand still. They are on the road—and online—entertaining audiences with live shows that include some of the best musicians and singers from all genres. It’s always different, always exciting, and always great music. No other band today has the same credentials for playing traditional and progressive music. As the sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin and Rob McCoury on banjo continue their father’s work—a lifelong dedication to the power of bluegrass music to bring joy into people’s lives.

Here’s some video from that pivotal ‘a-ha’ moment – The Travelin’ McCourys cover ‘Loser’

With a full schedule of Del McCoury Band appearances interwoven with the Travelin’ McCourys calendar, the quintet’s got a long and busy road ahead. As they look down it, the Travelin’ McCourys know they’ve got everyone they need to get them where they want to go.

Continuing on the path of creating, over 5 years ago the McCourys launched what they call The Bluegrass Ball (which in the past have included guests like Jeff Austin, Billy Nershi and Michael Kang of String Cheese Incident, The Lee Boys, and others) The Travelin' McCourys embark Wednesday for nine shows in 11 days starting in Iowa, and ending in South Carolina. They will have Drew Emmitt and Andy Thorn from Leftover Salmon along for this run of Bluegrass Balls. This is the current The Bluegrass Ball schedule:

  • 11/11 - The Englert Theatre - Iowa City, IA
  • 11/12 - Majestic Madison - Madison, WI
  • 11/13 - Old Rock House - St. Louis, MO
  • 11/14 - The Blue Note - Columbia, MO
  • 11/15 - City Winery - Chicago, IL
  • 11/18 - The Grey Eagle - Asheville, NC
  • 11/19 - The Blind Tiger - Greensboro, NC
  • 11/20 - The Charleston Pour House - Charleston, SC
  • 11/21 - Cat's Cradle - Carrboro, NC

Welcome Cody to the next chapter of his musical career.

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